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Fox News "Hannity" - Transcript

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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And there was controversy on the campaign trail over the weekend after some on the left accused presidential candidate Rick Santorum of questioning Barack Obama's Christian values. Now, the senator denies doing so, and very openly admits that he accepts the fact that the President is a Christian. He simply says that the following statement is being taken out of context. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: It doesn't fit his pattern of trying to drive down consumption, trying to drive up your cost of transportation, to accomplish his political science goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This is what the president's agenda is. It's not about you. It's not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on Bible. A different theology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Obama supporters have ignored the fact that the senator was talking about radical environmentalism and not the president's religion. Instead they are turning this into a political football. Here is our old friend -- we've missed him -- Robert Gibbs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THIS WEEK"/ABC)

ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think, it is time in our politics in which we get rid of this mindset that if we disagree we have to disqualify each other. That if we -- not just on political positions but we question character and faith.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you think he was questioning his faith?

GIBBS: I can't help but think that those remarks are well over the line. It is wrong, it's destructive, it makes it virtually impossible to solve the problems that we all face together as Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And joining me tonight to respond to our friend Robert Gibbs and to set the record straight once and for all, is the candidate himself, presidential candidate Rick Santorum. By the way, did President Obama say that Republicans want dirty air and water and old people and kids with autism and Down syndrome to fend for themselves --

SANTORUM: Sure.

HANNITY: Now, we got a lecture on civility from Robert Gibbs. I'm sorry, I missed that before.

SANTORUM: Yes. Throwing grandma off the cliff because we want to reform the Medicare system. This is -- it's very clear. You know, what I was talking about is the president's driving up of gas prices. I was just in Brocket (ph) in North Dakota. And, you know, I was standing at a wellhead. And they told me that they have to sell this light sweet crude which is a premium product. I mean, this is the most highly valued crude out there. And they have to sell it to the $32 discount. Why? Because they don't have a way to get it to the market. Because this radical environmental agenda of this president, not building the Keystone pipeline, not providing the opportunity as we're going to lose probably the next five to 10 years, four to five million barrels a day from Alaska, Mexico, Venezuela. And we have an opportunity to build a pipeline, so we can get oil sands, oil from the oil sands in Canada and oil shale in the Backen (ph) and this president holds, you know, holds to this higher power that somehow or another, we have to worry about the global warming. That is what I considered a radical ideology. And I refer to it as a theology. But obviously, it has nothing to do with the president's faith.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Because I remember you saying this. Didn't you on numerous other occasions when asked about the president and his faith and Christianity, say that you believe he is a Christian, that he stated his Christianity.

SANTORUM: Sure.

HANNITY: How many times do you think you've said that on the campaign trail and elsewhere?

SANTORUM: Just about every time. I mean, look, he went to Reverend Wright's church for 20 years. I mean, now you can question what kind of theology Reverend Wright has but it's a Christian church. He says, he's a Christian, he goes to Christian church now. Look, I am not going to question the president and what the president believes in when it comes to his faith. But I am going to question what he is doing in this country to drive up the cost of energy, destroy this economy and do so at the behest of a bunch of radical environmentalists who do, in fact, want to drive up the cost of energy and slow down this economy.

HANNITY: But it is interesting, because the president himself, you know, he used the quote, at the prayer breakfast that you just referenced here, and, you know, for on to whom much is given much should be required. And wasn't he using that to justify in that particular case him quote, "Raising taxes on the rich," so he can redistribute wealth? I mean, was he questioning the Christian faith of those that think we are overtaxed? Can we interpret it that way? As I watched you on "Face the Nation" this weekend, I was thinking, you know, why does the media have this double standard when it comes to President Obama?

SANTORUM: Well, it's perfectly clear. I mean, let's be honest. This is standard fare. I mean, I'm not saying anything particularly new here. I mean, what we have been talking about, the radical environmental agenda that puts the earth over the needs of man, that, you know, doesn't understand that the best way to create a sound environment is for people to be doing well and to have prosperity. Because you go to countries where in fact the mankind is not doing well. And let me assure you, the last thing they worry about is the environment. It depends on America's growth and prosperity, so we can in fact be good -- husband to the environment as the way we should. And that is all I was talking about. And for them to continually distort, this is the kind of stuff that I think is actually, I think one of the reasons we're doing well in the polls, because people see it for what it is. They see a national media trying to destroy conservatives.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Because this I think is very, very important. Because obviously your vetting is going on right now. And it seems to more than anything else revolve around social issues and social conservatism. You talk a lot about national security and about the economy. And about Iran as a threat. All these things. But it seems to now be focused more than anything else as you know about these issues. As senator, and you are Catholic, you have your views on birth control that as I understand that are in sync with the Catholic Church, is that correct?

SANTORUM: Right. They are. Yes.

HANNITY: OK. Now in your years as senator, did you ever vote to ban birth control? Would you ever vote to ban birth control? Did you ever vote to deny funding for government programs that provide contraceptive or birth control? It looks like you are laughing, or frustrated. I'm not trying to frustrate you. I'm trying to --

SANTORUM: No, no, no, I'm not frustrated at all. I mean, you know, look, this issue is not about birth control. I mean, there is nothing in my record that shows that I try to block anybody from getting birth control. Look, I'm not a big fan of Title X, that is Planned Parenthood. No, I want to defund Planned Parenthood. I supported, you know, title 20 programs. You know, not providing, you know, Planned Parenthood with all these government dollars for that purpose. But as far as people's right to get them, absolutely people have the right to get them. It's a country, this is a freedom that people have. And there is nothing in my record that would impose my values on this. But that is not the question here. The question is religious liberty. What the Obama administration was doing was telling a group of Catholics or people of faith that they had to do, they had to violate their own faith in order to do something --

HANNITY: On the contraception mandate.

SANTORUM: -- the government told them they had to do. Yes. That's right.

HANNITY: Go ahead. I wasn't questioning your position on that. Because I think that has been very well vetted now. And I think it was a clear violation of our first amendment on a lot of different areas. But it seems that right now, that there are people that are trying to position you as an extreme social conservative that in a general election is going to have a hard time, you know, syncing up with the feelings or sentiment of the nation and getting elected against Obama in a general election matchup. So, that's why I wanted to get to specifics of it.

SANTORUM: Yes, well, the specifics are, you know, not everything that is immoral -- look, I don't believe people should lie. But I'm not going to pass a law that is going to criminalize lying. I mean, this is the absurdity again of the tenets, that when you stand up and you say well, you know, this is how I believe morally that I should live my life. All of a sudden now, because your moral values don't comport with what their moral values are, all of a sudden, oh, he must be trying to impose his values. This is the kind of, you know, this makes it, you know, really a war on people of faith. Particularly the Catholic faith. Which again, I mean, it's very clear what the Obama administration is doing on that front. And it's very clear that if you hold those type of beliefs, that you're going to be held up for ridicule for doing so, and accused of doing something which I haven't done in my political career, which is to try to impose those values on anybody else.


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